Hey, gang, this is Coach Tim, and today I have the honor and privilege of interviewing my good friend and mentor Shawn Wells, keto expert, world’s greatest formulator, and downright awesome human being. In this episode of the BioTrust Radio podcast, Shawn selflessly opens up and shares intimate details of his journey. As you’ll see, Shawn is driven by his purpose to help others, encourage them to relentlessly find and pursue their passion, help them overcome adversity, and ultimately, show them the way to the optimal life they were meant to live filled with happiness, success, and meaning. Enjoy!
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“Your words have profound power…this one doctor radically changed my life path. He made the World’s Greatest Formulator…and this other guy, this guidance counselor, could have robbed me of my dream — taken it all away.” – Shawn Wells
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And remember… you’re just one decision away from better health and a better body
In this episode of the BioTrust Radio podcast, co-host Shawn Wells, keto expert and world’s greatest formulator, shares his story and the key elements of his journey that have shaped his path to where he is today. As you’ll discover, it is no accident that Shawn has become a household name, immense success, and inspiration to many, many people across the globe. A very clear vision, an incredibly strong work ethic, a commitment to excellence, and undeniable strength to overcome adversity are just several of the ingredients in Shawn’s recipe for success.
Here’s a brief summary of what you can expect to take away from the show:
- Why you shouldn’t blindly do what you’re told.
- Why you have to find and relentlessly pursue your passion — no matter how difficult or long the path seems.
- Why imperative to find your purpose and how it relates to serving others to experience the most success and meaning in life.
- Why you should be incredibly careful with your words. They have the power to make dreams come true or take them away.
- Why you need to identify and invest everything you can into your number one priority.
- Why you need to network.
- Why you should never take ‘NO’ for an answer when you believe strongly in something.
- Why you need to realize that everything you’ve been through and everyone you’ve met along the way happens for reason.
- Why you need to have a very clear vision of who and where you want to be.
- Why you should view everything you encounter has the potential to help you get you where you want to be.
- How Shawn has overcome tremendous adversity in his quest to be the world’s greatest formulator, a passion that is driven by his desire to help others.
- Why you need to take care of yourself to take care of others.
- Why you need mentors and social support to help you deal with the struggles and the self-doubt, provide accountability, and offer guidance and encouragement.
- Why you need to realize it’s not you against the world; you can’t — and you don’t need to — do it alone.
- Why you need to be a mentor to others — to help others AND yourself.
- Why you have to trust your gut.
- Why you need to start with your WHY.
We’ll cover this and much, much more…Enjoy!
Resources from This Episode:
- Optimum Sports Nutrition by Michael Colgan
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Learn more about Shawn Wells Keto Expert and World’s Greatest Formulator and follow him on social media:
- 21 Can’t Miss Resources For The Healthiest & Best You [BioTrust Radio #31]
- The ABCs of the Keto Diet with Shawn Wells Keto Expert [BioTrust Radio #28]
- Is Keto Dangerous? with Dr. Ryan Lowery and Shawn Wells Keto Experts [BioTrust Radio #30]
Transcript – Shawn Wells Keto Expert Shares His Story
Shawn: Hello BioTrust Nation. This is Shawn Wells, keto expert, and I am with my incredible partner, Tim Skwiat.Tim: BioTrust-y sidekick, Tim Skwiat, proud to join my great friend and superstar partner Shawn Wells, keto expert and world’s greatest formulator.Shawn: Yeah, I think we’re a great team. We really love working together and bringing this podcast to you. It’s something I’m very passionate about. And we thought it might be fun to talk about what’s led me here, and maybe we can do an episode on what has led Tim here. But there’s a story. We’ve talked about storytelling and how important it is in connecting with your tribe and really having, with that deep sense of connection, maybe initiating change in others, like inspiring others. And hopefully my story can do that for you and you can get to know me better, because a lot of other stories have affected me. Other people’s stories that I’ll talk about. There’s so many people that I’m thankful for, and I listen to their stories, and I was moved by their stories, and it moved me forward. So, let’s get into it.
Tim: Yeah, I think because there’s this thread of common humanity that’s important to us. We want to know that we’re unique among others, but we also like to know that there’s been others that are in our shoes or there’s others in our shoes. Especially others who have gone on to succeed, because there’s that inspiration and motivation that can become a reality. And I think we’d like to know that other people have struggled as well. Not because we want other people to struggle, but because we know it’s normal and that there is hope. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. And like we’ve talked about before, it’s that hero’s journey.
Tim: It’s like Michael Jordan’s story. Well, he’s pretty fascinating, but it may not be as compelling if we didn’t know that he didn’t even make his high school basketball team when he was a sophomore. Or that Steph Curry didn’t even have a scholarship coming out of high school, and he was like 100 lbs soaking wet. He looked like a little boy. And now he’s MVP and three-time NBA champion. I think he’s three times.
Tim: Three out of the last four years. And I think your story is also that of a champion.
Shawn: [chuckles] Thanks.
Tim: And how you’ve earned titles like “Shawn Wells, World’s Greatest Formulator,” and “Shawn Wells, keto expert,” but it didn’t happen by accident. And I think we’ve talked it a little bit before, but I think it’s really worth elaborating on in more detail. How did you get interested in this? Because if we go back to when you were in high school and college, you weren’t really on the path to necessarily become the World’s Greatest Formulator. You were on a very different path. How did you become “Shawn Wells, World’s Greatest Formulator” and “Shawn Wells, keto expert”?
Shawn: Yeah, that’s a great point. Yes, I was at Babson, which is a top business specialty school in the country, and I was told that’s what was smart to do. I always did well as a student. I was National Merit Scholar and I got into the colleges I wanted to get into. And I was going to Babson and I thought, hey, it’s about making money, it’s about doing business, because that’s what everyone’s told me. Just do business and be a grown-up. And that’s cool, but I was working out in college and I started using this new supplement called creatine.
Shawn: And I was seeing all these changes because I was new to the gym. I had worked out before, but not in the same way. I was around some really motivated people at the college gym and they were showing me some things. And again, I was using the supplement. And I was reading these magazines now and reading books. There was a book, Optimum Sports Nutrition, by Dr. Michael Colgan, where he was using different combinations of amino acids with his Olympic athletes, like doing blood work on them. And at the time, there wasn’t studies being done on supplement.
Shawn: So, this was so fascinating to me. And creatine, like man, I saw incredible performance differences and body composition differences, and I was hooked. And then I just started going to GNC and I’d literally spend hours in there. I know they were wondering, “What is this guy doing?” [laughs] I’d literally read every single label, and I’d read every magazine and every book. And then I started working at the GNC on my weekends and evenings, and I just couldn’t get enough. I’d talk to people. I’d ask them what they’ve used before. I was like interviewing the people that would come in as customers, just as much as they were asking questions of me.
Shawn: And then, because I had a marketing background, I was thinking about the psychology of what packages they’d pick up, like what’s their footsteps through the GNC.
Shawn: What drew them in? What were their needs? What were they connecting with? And if it wasn’t for me being at a GNC and these sports specialty stores, and working with customers, I don’t think I’d be 1/10 as good I have become.
Shawn: It was very foundational for me. And I didn’t need it because of money. I did it because I really cared and I was passionate about the subject, and I could help people. Because I spent so many hours reading this stuff, so many people started coming to me and asking me, and I loved it, and I loved talking about it. And I still love talking about it. I never get tired of talking about it. People stop and ask me questions all the time and I’ve never worn out by it. So, that’s why I know it’s my true purpose.
But the question is, how did I end up leaving my business school path? And I did finish up my business degree, and I did very well, but I ended up going to UNC Greensboro to get all my prerequisites and sciences. It was like two straight years. It was like 26 credit‑hours a semester. It was brutal. And with all these labs and biochemistry and all this, just to get into Chapel Hill for my Master’s in Nutritional Biochemistry and get my RD.
But how did I change that path? How did I go from a business major to chasing my dream of becoming “Shawn Wells, world’s greatest formulator” and “Shawn Wells, keto expert”? I went to a doctor’s between my sophomore and junior year.
Tim: When you were at Babson?
Shawn: When I was at Babson, the business school. I needed a physical and I was telling him about my crazy passion about working out. And I said, “You know, but I’m just going back to school and I’m going to do what I need to do, and maybe I’ll get on at one of these Anderson Consulting.” Or do what all my their friends in business school were planning on doing, living the dream, so to speak, by making money and living a posh life in some city. And he could tell that wasn’t really resonating with me, and he could tell that I was passionate about nutrition and supplements. And he drew up this lifeline for me, and I was 20 years old and he drew it to 80 or whatever. Maybe I’ll live to 100. [laughs]. Who knows? But he said why not be happy between here and here, and pointing to either end of this life line. And I was just dumbfounded.
You know, you hear that from someone who’s earthy, crunchy, woo-woo, hippy, and it’s like, “Okay, great. Yeah you’re pursuing whatever. Chase your dreams, blah-blah-blah. I’ve got to live in the real world.” But this is from a doctor, and it was powerful for me because he, at the time, I viewed that as extremely successful, to be a medical doctor.
Shawn: And he’s telling me to go pursue my dream like this. I gave myself permission. That was the difference. I was like, “You know what? I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this.” And then I became ten times more passionate. I still finished up magna cum laude at Babson, but then I ended up getting my minor in Chemistry, and all I could do is keep studying just 24/7 on nutrition, whenever I had a free moment. And taking supplements, buying supplements, and talking to people about supplements. That’s all I did. And then I went to UNC Greensboro, because my parents were down in North Carolina and I could go in-state. And like I said, I needed about two years’ worth of prereqs to even attempt to get into Chapel Hill, which was the top nutrition school.
I went to the guidance counselor and the guidance counselor told me, “You’re a business student. This is 26 credit-hours a semester of straight science. You will fail and you will fail miserably.” And I was a bit devastated, but luckily I had spent the last few years really pursuing my passion and feeling the difference I was making in other people’s lives, and I knew it was my purpose. I knew it.
Shawn: And because I had done so well at business school, while I was pursuing my passion, I still [chuckle] graduated with high honors. I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to do this thing and I’m going to think about this guy every day. He’s going to be etched in my mind.” And I’m not kidding, I don’t think a single day went by I didn’t think about that guy. I thought about him every single day, and he was my motivation.
Those two people were profound motivators. And maybe I wouldn’t have done so well with all these classes. Maybe I would have lost my way and never got into Chapel Hill if it wasn’t for this guy, now that I think about it. But there is definitely the power of words—we’ve talked about this, like Four Agreements is one of my favorite books—that your words have profound power. And this one doctor, he does not know that he radically changed my life path. He made “Shawn Wells, World’s Greatest Formulator” and “Shawn Wells, keto expert”. He made me who I am, and I’ve been able to touch millions of lives — through supplements and keto — because one thing that he said to me. And this other guy, this guidance counselor, could have robbed me of my dream, took it all away, and I would have just been toiling away somewhere not pursuing my purpose because I listened to him.
And I don’t even know how many other people got robbed of their dreams from this man, but know that there are miserable people out there and you should not put stock into them, no matter how expert they are. You need to have the success filters. I mean, sometimes you need some realism, you need a mentor. Sure, but there’s people out there that do not want to see you do well, and it’s unfortunate. It’s really unfortunate that he was a guidance counselor at a college.
Shawn: That’s sad, super-sad. But later, I did extremely well. I finished up at UNC Greensboro with Exercise Sports Science, and all my sciences, like biochemistry, nutrition, organic chemistry, all that stuff, and I got into Chapel Hill. And I took my Master’s in Nutritional Biochemistry. Again, minored in Exercise Science. I got my RD, Registered Dietitian, and I started practicing clinically, because you need to make money.
I had dreams of supplementation, sports nutrition, being a formulator. Which is literally the most—now that I think about it—the most insane dream because I could say I want to be an actor in Hollywood. And you can probably think of hundreds of actors, by name, right now. If you watch a movie, you could probably name hundreds, between movies and TV. There’s so many actors. I mean, there’s thousands out there, but you know hundreds off the top of your head. How many formulators are there? I don’t know; there’s probably 50. And like top level ones, there’s probably five. And I wanted to be a formulator and then I wanted to be the best formulator. It’s kind of like a pipe dream. I was like so niched that it’s insane. But because I believed so much in what I was doing and because I loved it, I worked on it all day long, every single day.
When I was at UNC Greensboro, every free moment I was reading magazines, I was reading books, I was on websites, I was looking at supplement write-up, I was looking at supplement reviews, I was talking to friends about it. Again, even when I was at UNC Greensboro, I was working at a GNC. Even when I was a dietitian, working professionally, I still spent a Saturday working at a sports supplement shop and talking to people and helping people, because I loved connecting on that level and I loved supplements. So it just never stopped.
And even when I was a practicing dietitian, I was helping people. I was helping try and bring supplements and nutrition into these practices, into the nursing homes, into the hospitals. They weren’t using the right supplements when they were sarcopenic and they were losing muscle mass, or when they had pressure ulcers, when they had urinary tract infections and they were immunocompromised, or they had cancer, or they had Alzheimer’s, or all these different things. Like cancer, they could have cachexia and they’re wasting. It’s also called failure to thrive. And I could bring supplements into this. I could bring protein into this. I could bring zinc and different nutrients into this, to try and help them. And I gained a lot of reliance from doctors and nurses and pharmacists because I was an expert.
But all the while, I was practicing as a dietitian. Every single night—Shelley can tell you—every single night I spent on the computer, in forums, helping people probably five hours every night. [chuckles] Just with my knowledge, I would be reading stuff and then I was helping people. Then I had supplement companies come to me and say, “Hey, we want you. You’re so smart. You’re helping these people. You’re so connected on these forms. Can you rep for us?” meaning write articles or represent their companies. We’ll give you products and you can come to our booth. And then I would go to the Arnold, the Olympia. I would go to the ISSN, which I ended up getting a certification in becoming a Certified Sports Nutritionist.
I would go to all these conferences and expos, and spend the entire time—these are my vacations, by the way. I would use all my vacations going to expos and conferences. I had two weeks a year. I didn’t do it going to the beach, going to somewhere. I would spend it all at these conferences and expos, learning and networking. That’s all I did, because I was super passionate. This is what I wanted to do. This was my purpose. And the entire time I was at the expo, I was doing my best job, setting up the booth, doing a great job talking to customers about these products. And then when I had a free moment at the end of the evening, in the five hours I probably had to go sleep, I would be walking around looking at the other booths. I would be talking to the owners at dinner. I would be networking everything I can, like saying like, “Hey, I’m really passionate about this stuff. I’m really knowledgeable about this stuff. Would you give me a chance? Would you like me to help you somehow in your formulations, for your marketing write-ups, anything?”
And so all this stuff happened, really just through passion, through drive. And I wish it was just as simple as saying I just stumbled into things, but it was really just me pushing so hard and knowing it was my purpose, and I was just unrelenting. And I gave up every weekend, every evening, every vacation, every holiday, to do this stuff. And it wasn’t until probably 10 years into my marriage that I went on a vacation, like a real vacation to somewhere, because this was what I wanted to do.
And then I got a call from Dymatize after I had been formulating for a bunch of companies really on my own, on the side. And Dymatize was down in Dallas, and they said they need someone to be Chief Science Officer, and I went through everything that I had and they loved me and they loved this other guy that was a PhD. But because he was a PhD and had tons of experience in the industry—I had none, like real professional experience in the industry. I mean, I was consulting, but he had worked with GNC. He had worked at five supplement companies. And so it was me and him kind of head-to-head and he was like 10 years my senior. He was a PhD. He had taught at schools, he had written textbooks, done studies, and here is me.
Shawn: I’m not even close in professional accomplishments to this guy. Not even close. But they loved my passion. And they ended up hiring him to be the Chief Science Officer, but they were so blown away with my knowledge and my passion that they were like, “We’re going to create a position for this guy.” [chuckles]
Shawn: Because this guy is just insane. And they created this Director of R&D position and brought me on kind of like a hybrid level of like a C-level, essentially. Which means like C, like CFO, Chief Science Officer, or CEO. I was basically an executive and getting treated that way. And it was just because I was wow-ing them at every interview. And the interviews went on for months and months and months. [laughs] I didn’t know why. It was because I was competing with this guy that was just insanely talented and just had the most unbelievable resume. I mean, I had written no books, I had done no studies, hadn’t taught at any universities, I didn’t have a PhD but I had my master’s. He did have an RD and he worked at five different companies that are relevant to the industry, like GNC, like Genesis Today, which is an MLM, Melaleuca, all these places. And I’m like, “I just love supplements. I’m driven, I’m passionate. Let me work for you.”
And I remember one question I was given in one interview. It seems like kind of a funny question about that you’re maybe supposed to ask when you’re interviewing people: “If you could go back and change anything, what would you go back and change?” And I was sitting in this room at Dymatize, surrounded by all these bottles, and I was just looking around because we were at like this executive desk and he was on the other side of the desk. And I got up and I started walking around and just looking at all these bottles. It kind of reminded me like when I was in GNC, and for me that was like Christmas. I love looking at these bottles and just reading all the labels. And I sat back down and I’m like, “Nothing. I wouldn’t change anything. I’m right here, right in front of you, right now, and this is my dream job. This is where I want to be. This is what I want to do with my life. I wouldn’t change anything.” I could tell it was like, “Okay, we need this guy.” I knew I was in the right place chasing my dream of becoming Shawn Wells, world’s greatest formulator, and Shawn Wells, keto expert.
Shawn: And it was just like that with every interview. They were just like, “Who is this guy?” You want to talk about manifestation, it was just an unstoppable force that there is no way they weren’t going to hire me, and I knew that in my heart. Like I knew this was my dream and they were not going to say no. And they ended up hiring this other guy, who’s way more qualified, and they should have. But I ended up working underneath him and he ended up being a mentor to me. His name is Dr. Rob Wildman, and I’m very thankful for him. He taught me a lot of the ropes, so to speak, on how to lead a team.
And that led me to my next position, where Josh Bezoni was setting up BioTrust. I think he was about a year, year-and-a-half in or whatever. And the company was doing very well, obviously just killing it. And he called me and he said, “What do you think about coming on to BioTrust?” And I was like, “BioTrust?” At the time I didn’t know what BioTrust was. It’s direct to customer and I just knew labels that are on stores like bodybuilding.com or Amazon, or at the store, like at CVS and GNC. So I’m like, “BioTrust? I don’t know what BioTrust is.”
Shawn: And he just kept wanting me. And I turned him down several times. It was three times I turned him down. And I just didn’t know. It seemed weird. But he was so persistent and he wanted me so much that I ended up saying yes, because he ended up conveying a lot of BioTrust’s mission and their charity-driven focus, and that I could create products. I mean, he really gave me the leeway to create special products that I wouldn’t have to cut corners. I was always frustrated in the past when I really had to cut corners and make a product that I tried to make as good as possible, but I felt was subpar.
And I can honestly say our portfolio at BioTrust is second to none. I love our products. I use almost all of our products. There’s no product I wouldn’t recommend to someone that’s in our portfolio. They’re special. They’re really special. They’re experiential, they’re effective, they’re study-backed. We test the heck out of them. We test the raw ingredients, we test the finished product. And they work. Everyone I know says they work. And I recommend them to everyone in my family and all my friends, and I use them, first and foremost. They’re the core to my whole supplement regimen.
And I think one of the most important things about me being in this position is I don’t cut corners on these products, because I make them for myself and my family and my friends. And Josh might, on occasion, have questioned me, like, “Is that worth the extra whatever amount of money?” and I’m like, “Yep.” [chuckles]
Tim: [chuckles] Yeah.
Shawn: It is. And I give him credit for supporting that, as he’s really supported me making the perfect product. I don’t think there’s really ever been a time that I’ve had to cut corners and say, “I really want this ingredient. It needs to be in there, but I can’t make it.” If that’s ever happened, then we just didn’t make the product, period.
Shawn: Which I love. So, we’ve never put out something subpar. And I know you’re the Director of Scientific Affairs, so you can appreciate that. And I know I’ve talked a lot. [laughs]
Tim: No, no. Man, what a wonderful story. When you were talking about Josh’s persistence, I was thinking Shawn probably would admire that persistence because he was the same way.
Tim: Because Josh had the vision of what he wanted. He knew what he wanted.
Tim: And that was you. And he kept coming at you until he could say what he needed to say in the language that was necessary to you. So, I want to go back and ask you a question, because obviously you are here for a reason. And it sounds like you really had a very clear-cut vision of what you wanted to accomplish, from a very early place. And what I’m getting at is when did you realize that you wanted to be the world’s greatest formulator? Like you said, it’s a very specific thing.
Tim: So, I want to ask that question, then I want to build on that once you give me some insight into that.
Shawn: Yeah, it was when I was on these bodybuilding.com forums.
Tim: This was like when you were in business school or once you started getting into the?
Shawn: Once I started getting into my science classes and taking some nutrition stuff. And once I was down in North Carolina, at Greensboro, and certainly at Chapel Hill, I was on these forums and there was people that were bringing out new and ground‑breaking products. There’s no shortage of marketing when it comes to sports nutrition, in particular.
Shawn: So, it really captured my attention and imagination, at the time. Maybe I got a little duped by some of the dreams and hype, but that also gave me more energy, because I might have gotten duped a few times to say, I really need to understand these better and understand the science behind them. And read about the people that have used them and see if they are effective or not. And then I need to protect others from taking something that’s not good, and I need to direct others to taking the things that are good. So I ended up becoming a guru, of sorts, like really high status on bodybuilding.com, and people would come to me for information. And supplement companies kind of quaked in their boots at times. [laughs]
Tim: [laughs] Yeah.
Shawn: When I would tear them down and really break down their product, and break down the science, and the chemistry, and the claims, and why it would or wouldn’t work, and some of those things. What led to it is I started formulating in my head, like, “This product’s garbage.” You know, I’d say that time-and-time-again, like, “This product’s garbage. This product’s garbage. This one has proprietary blend. This one doesn’t have the active that I like. This one falls short for this reason. This one’s just cheap. This one, I don’t trust the quality. This one didn’t test out. This one made some people sick.” You know, it was just a laundry list. And I was like, “Man, I can do better.”
Shawn: I can do better because I care. That’s one of the top reasons. There’s some people formulating for these companies that are just the owners and they just want to formulate something that is marketable and cheap, that has high margins. And to Josh’s credit, and Dymatize’s credit, when I came on it wasn’t about the CEO just saying, “Hey, I can formulate and I’m just going to put something out there that’s marketable and cheap.” It was about can we make the best product possible.
Shawn: And luckily, I was able to flourish in those two environments, where I was able to make the best products on the market. And I’ve certainly had amazing teams. I will say that. And you’re one of those people. But at both places I’ve worked, I had amazing teams working with me, creating incredible products, and seeing my passion and my dream, and seeing that I won’t take anything less than the best. And you know that. I mean, the products we’ve created together are, again, I feel second to none.
Tim: Yeah, from being in my shoes, it’s fun to research the products and be able to tout off potential benefits and support those benefits with actual legitimate science. One thing that strikes me about that story is that very clear vision of what you wanted to accomplish and who you wanted to be. You knew, from a very early point, that was a very specific, very clear vision that you wanted to be the World’s Greatest Formulator. And I think that’s incredibly important to point out. I think it’s incredibly common among successful champions, that vision. Because from there, from that vision, you basically set the priority. You set your intention that that’s where I was going to be, and I know that there’s steps along the way that I’m going to have to take, and there’s sacrifices that I have to take. And you said you didn’t take vacations, you worked weekends, you spent five hours at nighttime. But you know what? I don’t think you looked at those things dreadfully, [chuckles] at the time.
Tim: It wasn’t like, “Argh, I have to do this again.” It’s like, “I can’t wait to get on the computer. I can’t wait to do this. I can’t wait to do this,” because you knew that each one of those things was an important step, an important cog in the wheel, to get to where you wanted to be. And I think that’s just huge because, again, knowing where you want to be, having that vision. You’re setting the priority and then you invest the time, invest yourself in the things that you need to do to get there. You’re always working on your number-one priority.
And there were things that you had to do to get there. Like you said, you had to do your clinicals and things like that. Maybe that wasn’t exactly what you wanted to be doing at the time. But you always took the opportunities that were granted to you in those situations, to better you. Like you said, the patients that you were working with, you were trying to find better solutions for them that aligned with what your long‑term goal was.
Tim: I think it’s amazing that just the power of vision, the power of your visualization, and understanding that everything that was in your life was an opportunity to get to where you wanted to be.
Shawn: Yeah, it’s true. And once I even made it to my dream of let’s say being at Dymatize and finally being a formulator at a giant company, I still came in at 7 in the morning and I left at 11 p.m. at night, every day. I won Employee of the Year, but I wasn’t trying to win Employee of the Year. It was just because this was my dream. And I never understand when people put all this time and energy into college and then they get to the job that they wanted to get to from all that college, and then they don’t put in much energy. [laughs]
Shawn: It should be almost the reverse. Like I got to my dream, now there’s no stopping me. Like everything led up to this point and now everyone’s going to see what happens when you put a passionate, knowledgeable, driven Shawn into this environment. And that’s what happened. I crushed it there. And I wanted to keep going and growing and showing people everything I could do.
And I would stay late at night just to hang out with the C-level people, after all the regular people left and went home and there would be just the VPS and the C-level people that were there, that were working late. And I would sit there and talk to them in their offices, and I would ask if I could take projects from them, if I could help them. And I would listen to them talk about their departments. And now, at this point, I could easily run a supplement company. I mean, one, I have my business background. But two, I have this knowledge of every single department and how it all worked together. And it happened to be at Dymatize that I took on so many projects outside of my work, my normal work of my position title, that they would start having these C-level meetings and they kept saying, “Well, who knows the answer to that?” And it’s, “Oh, Shawn does.” And after a while, after so many meetings, they’re like, “Let’s just invite Shawn to these meetings.” [laughs]
Shawn: So I was the only Director in these meetings and I was giving about 2/3 of the information at the meeting.
Shawn: [laughs] I was literally like one of the most pivotal people in the company because I put myself in a position to be that. And even when I was at these nursing homes, I would literally, some people would be out eating lunch and taking walks or just chatting with other people, or kind of lazily charting and whatnot. I would read each patient’s chart. And I wouldn’t just read the parts that I needed to know. I would be reading every medication, everything that they were doing in therapy—occupational, speech, and physical therapy. And I would be reading all the notes from the social worker, I was reading their history, and I was putting all these pieces together. And again, it got to the point where we would have these cross-functional meetings and they were talking to the dietitian about this patient and what medication they took, [chuckles], literally they’d be like, “Shawn, does this medication makes sense or does this treatment for their wounds make sense?” or whatever, because I knew this patient just top to bottom.
Shawn: And then I started putting together trends in my head of what medications affect people certain ways, or what foods can affect people certain ways, or what therapies, or what therapists, or what nurse was good or not good. Because I was digging in so deeply.
Shawn: And when you can see it affects someone’s life so clearly. What I like about a nursing home almost more than a hospital is that you see that person for weeks, months, years.
Shawn: And you have like a clear impact on their life that’s visible. And you’re getting the feedback from their family, from their caretakers. But man, being able to assert myself into that and really change their lives. You know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I was able to be the squeaky wheel for a lot of these people that didn’t have advocates, and that became very addictive to me. And it’s one of the things that drove me to really be that person for everyone else in my life, and then start realizing my purpose to help others.
Shawn: It wasn’t to be the World’s Greatest Formulator. The World’s Greatest Formulator is a vehicle to help others.
Shawn: And I knew, I had gone through so many health issues. I have tons of autoimmune stuff. I have Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune thyroid condition. I have a pituitary adenoma, which is a brain tumor that wreaks havoc with your neurotransmitters and hormones. And I was really dealing with horrible headaches because of this tumor, and my testosterone was in double digits, which is horrible.
Tim: Very, very low.
Shawn: My estrogen was sky-high, beta estradiol, and my prolactin was sky-high because it’s prolactinoma. It’s actually secreting high levels of prolactin. And I was depressed and I was getting skinny fat and all these things were happening because of my hormones and because this tumor. I eventually got an MRI and got that treated by taking medication. But I’ve had fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome related to Epstein‑Barr virus, mono. I’ve had two disks replaced in my neck from a car accident. Now, I’ve gone through chronic pain, chronic fatigue, being drained, all the while I’ve been a high achiever and working 70-80 hours a week for the last 15 years, non-stop.
So, I’ve wanted to figure out myself, and that kind of leads into the biohacking term. Hacking my own biology and trying to figure out how to fix my health so I can be a high achiever, with supplements, with exercise, with medication, fitness, with whatever modalities are at my disposal. And that’s led me to finding my voice and connecting with other people, because I was hacking my own biology, because I was improving my health, and I was able to get back to working at the level I expected of myself, that I now wanted to give this to everyone else.
And a lot of times it was just one-on-one, but then when I started finding my voice with the internet with forums or with podcasts, with radio shows. I do a national radio show, I do a lot of podcasts. I do this podcast. I do a lot of speaking, internationally, like speaking in Brazil and all over the world now. And it’s allowed me to reach out to many people and connect with many people. Because I have been broken. I still am broken. And I’m intervening with all these different things, but I want people to know that there’s a way out, that there’s a way that I can help them and then therefore they can help themselves, and then they can help others around them.
Tim: Yeah. Do you think that purpose passion-driven, like you said, high-achiever mindset and commitment to doing all those things, working 70-80 hours a week, had any impact on some of the health issues that you have experienced, such as the autoimmune condition?
Shawn: Absolutely. It definitely did. A lot of it was dealing with—we just did an episode on stress and trying to be perfect.
Shawn: And I am someone that has had a number of relationships in my life that have been unhealthy, and I have been insecure and questioned myself at times with things like impostor syndrome. Do I deserve to be here? On one hand, I was super-passionate and driven, but on the other hand, the idea of failure, the idea of just one thing out of 100 going wrong, and I would beat myself up. And it got me to where I am, without a doubt. I mean, it’s what made me the best. You know, to be the best, there’s got to be sacrifices. But with that, there’s been lessons, and now I’m seeing how to prevail and proceed in a smarter way. It wasn’t the best way for my health. Yeah, for sure. Absolutely.
But again, those are lessons learned. Not only is it lessons learned for myself in how to have a better mind state, how to have a more balanced approach, and not beat myself up as much. And like a lot of the messages we’ve had on this podcast are not about just supplements and fitness, and whatever. We always talk about mind state. And that’s me talking to you, the listener, but talking to myself.
Shawn: Because I have been there. I have broken myself down. I beat myself up. I’ve wanted to be the best. I’ve had horrible insecurity about it. I’ve questioned myself, and I’ve dealt with all of it. And so I’m here and I’m not like just some amazing gifted person that it just came easy to, and I don’t have things that didn’t break me down, and there wasn’t tons of nights of me crying. [chuckles] I mean, there was many nights of me crying. There was many nights of me questioning what am I doing to myself, or can I pull this off tomorrow at this presentation or this speech. Or I’m going to be in front of all the investors and all the C-level people. They’re going to see me as a fraud. Or I’m going to be in front of 2,500 people at this speech and they’re going to see me and they’re going to just point out all the flaws in my presentation. That the science isn’t right, that he’s not an authority, he’s a fraud. And I’ve dealt with that a lot.
I mean, I certainly have that insecurity, but that’s something that I’ve learned to deal with and one of the most important things on that front has been mentors, and putting the right people around me to dispel that voice that can sometimes be counterproductive. Sometimes it’s driven me. There’s no doubt. But it’s also beat me into the ground.
Shawn: And I’ve had really good mentors, one of which, like I said, at Dymatize, was Dr. Rob Wildman. You’ve been a great mentor to me. Keto expert Dr. Ryan Lowery is a very close friend. Dr. Jacob Wilson, another keto expert, down in ASPI. And we had Ryan Lowery on the show. [Is Keto Dangerous? with Dr. Ryan Lowery and Shawn Wells Keto Experts] He’s a young guy, only 26, but he’s incredibly accomplished and he has a very giving heart. And he’s very smart. He’s just smart when it comes to business, smart when it comes to science, and he has his head in the right place.
Mentor doesn’t mean someone who’s 20 years your elder, who’s just been there and done. I’ve had some of those, but sometimes it’s someone who’s younger, who’s framing life in a different way, who has a passion and an energy. And so I think you need mentors coming from a variety of places, a variety of experiences, that you can rely on depending on what comes up. And I like to hear a number of thoughts on something. When we do research, you and I are research guys. We don’t just go to one place and we’re like, “Meh, that’s good.” No, I want to read everyone’s perspective on something when they’re all authorities, especially maybe the young guy’s got this crazy cutting-edge idea. I want to read that. That’s exciting to me. I love crazy cutting-edge ideas. Maybe it’s not going to pan out, but you know what? That’s the guy who moves the needle 1 out of 10 times, when it’s a game-changer.
Shawn: But then you’ve also got to appreciate the guy who’s put in his dues, that’s been there for years, that’s knows what’s real and says this is the method you need to go through and here’s how I know that this is reliable.
Shawn: And so you’re like, “Okay, I trust this guy and he’s saying this is reliable, and he has tons and tons of experience, and I like what he’s saying, so I’m going to listen to him.” But mentors have been everything for me, and that’s what’s led to me, I think, having my longevity is when I figured that out. That it wasn’t me against the world, and it was probably just within the last 5 years that I’ve learned this, that it’s not me against the world. And I’ve had great teams and I’ve been thankful for that, but I felt alone when it comes to sharing my mind-state. I haven’t been alone in my success all this time, certainly because of amazing teams I’ve been around, and people I’ve modeled, in terms of their professionalism and their knowledge.
But it wasn’t until the last five years that I’ve really said mentors, okay, I need that. Like this is so helpful. And now I’ve really made myself available as a mentor to others. So often when I’m speaking to others, I find myself speaking to myself.
Shawn: It’s uncanny. It’s crazy. It’s crazy how uncanny it is. So many of the words I’ll be saying, yeah, that’s affirming what I believe, or it’s me telling myself, “Yeah, you need to get back on that. You need to get back on the right path. You’re talking this. You know it’s right, so get on that.” And it’s so funny that so much of the time I really am speaking to myself.
Tim: That’s awesome, Shawn and I think, first of all, thank you for saying that I’ve been a mentor to you. I’m very humbled to know that I’ve somehow been a mentor to “Shawn Wells, World’s Greatest Formulator” and “Shawn Wells, keto expert”. That’s mind-blowing to me because you have been such an incredible mentor to me. I’ve mentioned this many times before, but you’ve just, in a very natural way, you have just instilled an enormous amount of confidence in me personally, and the people around us. I know that you’re a tremendous mentor to so many people. And something that really stands out to me is you give so freely of your time. Like you are an extremely busy person, but you always give freely of your time.
Like the person in front of you or the issue in front of you, or the question in front of you, is the only thing in the entire world that matters and that’s an incredibly unique gift. And I think that the fact that you are giving back now as a mentor, like you said, it has its benefits to you because a lot of times when you’re mentoring other people, you’re mentoring yourself at the same time. But I think that it’s wonderful also that you realized that you needed mentors in your life. I think that for a lot of us, or for me, what I experience is I have a very difficult time asking for help. And in some ways, like seeking a mentor is asking for help, and that can be challenging for some of us that have that me against the world kind of mindset. But that’s huge. It kind of helps us achieve that untapped potential.
We all need accountability, we all need coaching, we all need guidance. We all like recognition, whether we want to admit it or not. And that’s what a mentor can provide and help us keep on track, and help remind us of what is the North Star that we’re chasing. And if we’re steering off-track, getting back on track. And those are some things that you pointed out and really amazed at the conversation that evolved here. Because I think it’s a truly incredible journey, so far. And the story is still being written.
And I think that it puts a lot of things into perspective. I think going back to some of the things you talked about earlier on, is one, the words can be very powerful. Our words that others give share with us. For one, like the doctor that said yes. Be that person that says yes to someone that needs yes to be told to them. Or no, because sometimes people need to be told no. You’ve got boundaries, right? But also, be very careful with your words because it could be like the guidance counselor, and if you say something or even express through body language a certain way to someone else, that can be life-changing in a bad way. But if someone tells you something that you don’t want to hear or you don’t think is the right thing, remember to go with your gut.
And that’s what you did in the face of that negativity. You stuck with your gut and what you truly believed was the right thing to do, and I’m proud of you that you did that, and I’m grateful that you did that. Maybe we wouldn’t have “Shawn Wells, World’s Greatest Formulator” or “Shawn Wells, keto expert” if you hadn’t. And then I liked the way that you utilized that as fuel, to fuel your goal, fuel your passion. It reminds me of an athlete who didn’t get drafted in the spot that he thought he should, and then every day he’s like, “I’m just going to prove them wrong.” And that often works out.
Tim: So, all those things, I think, are really powerful. The fact that you had that passion. You knew the vision, you had the vision of what you wanted to accomplish and you followed it, even when things got tough. And that you found these mentors, that you stuck with your passion, you found your purpose, which is such an important part to life. The purpose wasn’t the World’s Greatest Formulator or becoming Shawn Wells, keto expert, but it was serving others. And I think when we can find what our passion is, as it relates to the greater good of society, that’s where things truly lie. That’s where we really experience the most success and meaning in our lives. I think things like recognition and autonomy are probably pretty important as well, and those areas. But that purpose and serving the greater good is extremely important. So, I really appreciate you sharing all that, and I want to ask about 20 more questions.
Tim: But I think we may be getting a little long on time here.
Shawn: Yeah. Well, I appreciate you asking those questions, and I appreciate being able to share my story, and hopefully it resonates with someone out there; especially if you’re just a BioTrust Radio fan or you’re a BioTrust supplements fan. And knowing a little bit more about me might give you a little bit more appreciation about what it is we do and why we do it. I mean, that’s the whole “start with your why” thing. Like this is my why.
Shawn: My why is not just that I wanted to be Shawn Wells, World’s Greatest Formulator, or Shawn Wells, keto expert, but that I wanted to help people with my knowledge and connect, and make people healthier because I’ve faced health issues, myself. And make people healthier in mind state, too. That’s so much of this show, is what drove me is what gave me my position as Shawn Wells, World’s Greatest Formulator, and Shawn Wells, keto expert, in this position here, but also that same drive broke me down health-wise, like you were saying, and in a number of ways. So, I am cognizant of all of that and I want to pass that on as information, too. Not just supplement information, but what it takes to be successful mentally, physically, spiritually. And that’s never going to end for me.
Shawn: That pursuit. So, I’m deeply appreciative of you. And yes, you are a mentor to me. I think you’re incredible with your gifts and your spirit, and your kindness, and your desire to help others. I think we see a lot of the same things in each other.
Tim: Yeah, definitely.
Shawn: When I heard you say the things about me, I was thinking those are the same things about Tim. [chuckles] I think we see like a reflection of each other. So, that’s cool. I think that’s why we have our chemistry and we’re blessed to be on this show together and help people. So, I appreciate it.
Thank you everyone for listening, and please check out BioTrustRadio.com for more of our podcasts. Check out BioTrust.com/blog to look at blog articles that are amazingly written by Tim and others. And we have the BioTrust Facebook VIP group at BioTrust.com/ VIP. A great community of contests and people talking to each other, and helping each other. And kind of like I said, bodybuilding.com a long time ago was that for me. I found my community and found my voice. I think so too can you with our VIP Facebook group. So, once again, thank you so much for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.
Tim: Take care, guys.